Letter from the Editor: The Importance of Interning and Knowing It's Okay to Pivot
You say you want to become what, again?? Have you interned? Have you taken the steps to know what it is really like to work in that industry? These are the questions you should ask yourself, or someone who really cares about your future, should be asking you. I came across this picture today as it popped up in my Facebook memories. It's almost a decade old, which explains that poor quality. I was studying for and prepping to apply to medical school while interning at a doctor's office who specialized in rheumatology, a field of medicine, I was so sure I would love. I have lupus, why wouldn't I love it right? Wrong!
The day-to-day tasks felt so mundane, there was a lot of back and forth between office and patients, recording what was said afterwards, reviewing the next patient's file, then doing it all over again. The patients were mice and I appreciated them for allowing me to sit in and observe their visits. I even got to ask questions. After my series of rotations, I left not craving more. I had a huge wake up call. I did not want to do this. It wasn't the hard work that scared me off, I didn't feel called to work in healthcare in that capacity, if I continued, I'd be forcing it. This is why I stress the importance of getting as much internship experience as possible. Don't be fooled by what you see in the outside, get down and dirty and see how things really are from within.
Fast forward to the present day. I've matured and realized one of my professors was right, there are more careers in the healthcare field outside of becoming a doctor. Since then I've work in quality assurance and control capacities and now I'm testing the waters with community outreach. I'm still passionate about healthcare and ensuring people are treated, but from an advocacy standpoint. I have license to be more creative in how I interact with people. I now work hard to ensure low income families are aware of all the resources available to them and let them know their income does not have to be a barrier to living a full and healthy life. That's just part of what I do, I get to address other community needs as well and I'm not sure if I would have that much time to devote to my passions if I were a doctor. But, this was before social media exploded, so who really knows?
Take the time to explore your options. It's okay to learn that something isn't for you. It's also okay if you dance around a bit before you find your sweet spot. Explore what's out there and good luck!